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Serum Institute working on Omicron-specific vaccine, can be expected in next six months: Adar Poonawalla

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Adar Poonawalla, CEO of the Serum Institute of India (SII), said on Monday that an Omicron-specific vaccination might be available in India within the next six months. Poonawalla said that the SII is collaborating with Novavax on the development of an Omicron-specific vaccine, and he added that the vaccine may be available by the end of the year, according to a report by NDTV.

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The vaccine will be specific to the BA5 sub-variant of Omicron, for which UK has approved an updated Moderna vaccine. The bivalent vaccine targets the Omicron variant as well as the original form.

“Think this vaccine is important as a booster. Trials of Novavax are in progress in Australia currently. By November-December should be in a position to approach the US drug regulator,” Mr Poonawalla told NDTV.

Earlier today, Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) earlier announced that the modified Moderna vaccine against coronavirus, which targets the Omicron variation in addition to the original version, has been authorised after being determined to fulfil UK regulator’s requirements for safety, quality, and efficacy.

Half of each dosage of the booster vaccine, ‘Spikevax bivalent Original/Omicron,’ targets the original viral strain from 2020, while the other half (25 micrograms) targets Omicron.

Based on the results of a clinical trial, the MHRA has concluded that a booster dose of the bivalent Moderna vaccine produces a strong immune response against both Omicron (BA.1) and the original 2020 strain. The report found that the bivalent vaccination was effective in provoking an immunological response against the Omicron sub-variants BA.4 and BA.5.

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